Monday, May 14, 2012

Is He a Great Dad or a Child Abuser?

Just spotted a small red car in the Kroger parking lot with a sign in the window that proclaimed "World's Greatest Dad!" Inside a bearded, stocking-capped young man was holding up an iPad playing a rap video that he and his toddler were enjoying. In the other hand he had a lit cigarette. The windows were up because of the rain.

I'm not sure this guy qualified as the best dad in the world, since the cigarette in an enclosed car with a helpless child is defined by some of us as "child abuse."



  1. Phil Chitwood, arbitrary conservativeMay 14, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    I tend to agree with you, Dan. He might still be a good dad, though.

  2. Interesting. I'm guessing you are hinting perhaps smoking in an unventilated area with children present should be grounds for legal intervention? Along the same line, is a parent abusing a child by allowing her to eat to obesity? Or a parent who refuses to vaccinate their child? Is there a difference if the parent makes an informed decision i.e. second hand smoke is not bad for children and vaccines are? Where do we draw the line and how do we decide? Do we trust science enough to say second hand smoke can cause respiratory problems or that excessive fatty foods can shorten ones life? I don't have those answers but common sense and a little awareness tells me and most people what they need to know. When there are so many grey areas what do we do other than educate and offer assistance? Sorry but I asked too many questions and provided no answers.

  3. Child abuser. (That was a "period") Unless the babe also was wearing, and you omitted in your description, some sort of appropriately sized and comfortably fitted gas mask, which he willingly donned.

    No need to drag vaccines or Big Macs into this. Those are separate arguments.

  4. I can't fathom (knowing what we know about smoking and second-hand smoke) why anyone would want to subject a child to that. As a former smoker (quit 13 years ago after smoking for 15) and avid runner, I still suffer the consequences of my actions. This post just makes me sad for this child.

  5. Anon: I agree with the period.

  6. Scott: I fear that sometimes we get bogged down in overcomplicating issues. Should a child be sentenced to inhaling smoke is the simple question. "No" is the simple answer if we care about protecting the innocent. As Anon says, we don't need to bring in every issue that affects children. This is about a man smoking in a closed car with a child (in a child's seat, bless 'em) having no escape from the smoke. Do you approve of that? If so, I'm as sorry for you as for the child.